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2011 December

Version 4.0 – Public Discussion Launches

Diane Peters, December 9th, 2011

We are pleased to announce the beginning of the public discussion process that we expect to result in version 4.0 of the Creative Commons license suite.

Timeliness and Opportunity

The 4.0 discussions held at the 2011 Global Summit confirmed for CC the need to commence the 4.0 discussion process now if we wish to consider issues relevant to important would-be adopters in a timely manner. As explained following legal sessions at the Summit, version 3.0 is working (and will continue to work) really well for many adopters, but the reality is different for others. The treatment of sui generis database rights in the 3.0 licenses continues to be a show-stopper for many, including governments in Europe. This fosters an environment in which custom licenses proliferate, inevitably resulting in silos of incompatibly-licensed content that cannot be maximally shared and remixed. But there exist still other reasons for pursuing 4.0 at this time, including the desire to adjust the licenses to more fully support adoption by intergovernmental organizations and those looking for a more internationally-oriented license suite.


CC BY, Version 3.0

The consequence of not addressing these challenges now is one of opportunity — bridging these differences sooner rather than later (where possible) is always advisable, especially if a more inclusive commons may result. For those fond of version 3.0, rest assured that CC will continue to support existing and future implementations and adopters that rely on those licenses. We will take pains not to create a 4.0 suite that undermines or otherwise presents challenges for those communities.

Process – Discussion Forum – 4.0 Wiki

Importantly, for the first time in CC’s history we begin the versioning process without publishing a draft of the new licenses for review. This is intentional, and it is designed to ensure we hear from the community first. During this 2-3 month requirements gathering period, we urge everyone with a proposal, concern or other input to please put it forth, as our goal is to make the first draft as comprehensive as possible. We will alert the community when the requirements period draws to a close, expected to be mid-February 2012. As in the past, we will publish at least two drafts of the licenses before finalizing, which we anticipate will occur late 2012.

As with past versioning efforts, the central discussion forum will be CC’s license discuss list (subscribe now). New to the 4.0 process, however, is a dedicated group of wiki pages (accessible through the main 4.0 wiki page) where topics and proposals under discussion on that email list will be documented, annotated, and evaluated. We have pre-populated the wiki pages with several of the issues we expect to address during this process, framing key topics to help shape the discussion and including known and anticipated proposals related to each. Among others, we expect healthy debates regarding the treatment of moral rights, the definition of NonCommercial, scope of ShareAlike, treatment of sui generis database rights, and much more. The issues are organized by topic with cross-references to related issues throughout the wiki, but there is also an open forum (the Sandbox page) where you should be encouraged to suggest other topics you feel are important to discuss for version 4.0 (a few placeholders already exist).

For a fuller description of CC’s objectives, the process and expected schedule, visit the 4.0 wiki homepage.

We encourage everyone who is interested in the future of Creative Commons, and open licensing generally, to participate in this process. The more voices that chime in to raise issues and debate the merits of various proposals, the stronger version 4.0 will be, helping us achieve our goal of creating a set of robust licenses that will endure long into the future. If you have an opinion about how to simplify CC’s attribution requirements, for example, or any of the other important issues we plan to examine during the process, please post your suggestion to the CC license discuss list (subscribe today) and add it to our 4.0 wiki. We look forward to hearing from you.

Support CC

The Version 4.0 process and many other activities are supported by contributions from our community. As a global nonprofit organization that enables sharing and reuse of creativity and knowledge through free legal tools, Creative Commons has always relied on the generosity of both individuals and organizations to fund its ongoing operations. Please consider donating to our Annual Campaign, going on now. Thank you.

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Safecast: Global sensor network collects and shares radiation data via CC0

Jane Park, December 5th, 2011


INTERPOLATION MAP / Lionel Bergeret, Safecast / CC BY-NC

One week after the nuclear disaster at the Fukushima Diachi plant in March, the Safecast project was born to respond to the information needs of Japanese citizens regarding radiation levels in their environment. Safecast, then known as RDTN.org, started a campaign on Kickstarter “to provide an aggregate feed of nuclear radiation data from governmental, non-governmental and citizen-scientist sources.” All radiation data collected via the project would be dedicated to the public domain using CC0, “available to everyone, including scientists and nuclear experts who can provide context for lay people.” Since then, more than 1.25 million data points have been collected and shared; Safecast has been featured on PBS Newshour; and the project aims to expand its scope to mapping the rest of the world.

“Safecast supports the idea that more data – freely available data – is better. Our goal is not to single out any individual source of data as untrustworthy, but rather to contribute to the existing measurement data and make it more robust. Multiple sources of data are always better and more accurate when aggregated.

While Japan and radiation is the primary focus of the moment, this work has made us aware of a need for more environmental data on a global level and the longterm work that Safecast engages in will address these needs. Safecast is based in the US but is currently focused on outreach efforts in Japan. Our team includes contributors from around the world.”

To learn more, visit http://safecast.org. All raw data from the project is available for re-use via the CC0 public domain dedication, while other website content (such as photos and text) are available under CC BY-NC.

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Europeana Licensing Framework published

Jane Park, December 2nd, 2011

Yesterday, Europeana — Europe’s digital library, museum and archive, and the first major adopter of the Public Domain Mark for works in the worldwide public domain — published and made available The Europeana Licensing Framework using the CC0 public domain dedication. The licensing framework encompasses and is a follow-on to the recent Data Exchange Agreement that Europeana adopted in September, and which Europe’s national librarians publicly supported weeks later.

In Europeana’s own words, the licensing framework “underpins Europeana’s Strategic Plan” for 2011-2015:

“The goal of the Europeana Licensing Framework is to standardize and harmonize rights-related information and practices. Its intention is to bring clarity to a complex area, and make transparent the relationship between the end-users and the institutions that provide data.”

“Users need good and reliable information about what they may do with [content]. Whether they can freely re-use it for their educational, creative or even commercial projects or not. The Europeana Licensing Framework therefore asks data providers to provide structured rights information in the metadata they provide about the content that is accessible through Europeana. Doing so makes it easier for users to filter content by the different re-use options they have – by ‘public domain’, for example and hence easier for users to comply with licensing terms.”

The framework supports re-use of data and content through CC legal tools (CC0 public domain dedication, the Public Domain Mark, and CC BY-SA), providing guidelines for their appropriate applications. Download the European Licensing Framework (pdf) or peruse the full set of resources at Europeana Connect.

Update

Relatedly, see Europeana’s white paper no. 2 published last month, The Problem of the Yellow Milkmaid: A Business Model Perspective on Open Metadata (pdf). The white paper “explore[s] in detail the risks and rewards of open data from different perspectives” after “extensive consultation with the heritage sector, including dozens of workshops.” It opens:

“‘The Milkmaid’, one of Johannes Vermeer’s most famous pieces, depicts a scene of a woman quietly pouring milk into a bowl. During a survey the Rijksmuseum discovered that there were over 10,000 copies of the image on the internet—mostly poor, yellowish reproductions1. As a result of all of these low-quality copies on the web, according to the Rijksmuseum, “people simply didn’t believe the postcards in our museum shop were showing the original painting. This was the trigger for us to put high-resolution images of the original work with open metadata on the web ourselves. Opening up our data is our best defence against the ‘yellow Milkmaid’.”

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